AVROM AND LOT PART WAYS

G-d blessed Avrom with an excess of wealth in cattle, gold and silver. Because Lot accompanied Avrom on his journeys, G-d blessed him, as well, with a sizable fortune. Avrom righteously instructed his shepherds to guard where his livestock grazed, taking great care to muzzle the animals when they journeyed through pastures that were privately owned. He prohibited them from grazing in all pastures that were not in the public domain.

Lot's shepherd's took great liberties with private pastures and permitted his flock to graze at will, liberally without consideration to private acreage. Avrom could not tolerate this thievery, he therefore suggested that he and Lot part ways, though he would remain available to come to Lot's aid and assistance, as necessary.

Lot journeyed on and settled in the very fertile plains of Sodom, while Avrom remained in Canaan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE TOWER OF BABEL

Noach's descendants were terrified that G-d would punish them with another Flood, but they hoped by settling together and remaining united they could avoid tragedy. Under the leadership of King Nimrod, a descendant of Noach's son Kush, the population of the world chose a valley in Bavel to construct a tower to reach the heavens and support ???them heavens so they would not erupt in a flood, again. The tower was engineered to maximize their productivity, with two staircases to increase upward and downward traffic, but it still took one year to reach the summit.

G-d punished their contempt, measure for measure, by confusing their communication and creating different languages that would destroy their unity. Immediately construction was halted because they could no longer understand each other; their motivation dissolved.

Henceforth, the location of the Tower is referred to as Babel (Babylonia) to indicate the confusion that G-d created by converting the singular language of the earth into 70 languages, and scattering the generation over the face of the earth, dividing the world into nations and continents.

The Al-mighty despises conflict and chose not to destroy this generation because they behaved peacefully and were not corrupt with one another, as were the Generation of the Flood. Such is the merit of unity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE DAUGHTER OF PHARAOH
RESCUES BABY MOSHE

A baby boy was born to Amram and Yocheved while they were in Egyptian captivity. Yocheved concealed her baby for three months because Pharaoh had decreed that all male children be thrown into the Nile. His astrologers interpreted the stars and determined that a male child would redeem the people of Israel and he feared for his throne.

She placed her baby son in a woven basket which she waterproofed,and cast it upon the waters of Nile. As it floated by Pharaoh's daughter, she recognized that this was a Jewish child who was blessed with "shechina"- the spirit of G-d, and rescued him because she had long forsaken the evil ways of her father. She could not reach his basket, but G-d miraculously extended her reach and the length of her arm. She adopted Moshe and raised him as her own, calling him Moshe, "because I removed him from the water."

Because of her righteous rescue she is called Batya, "daughter of G-d," and Moshe, though he had 10 names is always referred to as Moshe, the name by which Batya called him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MOSHE BY THE BURNING BUSH

In his search for pasture for the flocks of his father-in-law Yitro, Moshe shepherded them into the wilderness and came upon Mount Sinai, whereupon he beheld the miracle of a burning thorn bush that was not consumed by the flames. This is how G-d had preferred to reveal himself to Moshe to symbolize that though the people of Israel were suffering the misery of slavery or exile throughout history they would survive, and would not be annihilated.

Moshe removed his shoes to approach the hallowed ground and was charged by G-d to be the redeemer to rescue the Bnei Yisrael from 210 years of slave labor. But Moshe feared that he was not adequate for the job because of his speech disability and that the Jewish elders in Egypt would not believe that G-d had presented himself to him. Therefore G-d revealed the names by which he is called and instructed him to perform several miracles to show that he was an agent of G-d.

G-d revealed that the Israelites would leave Egypt with great wealth and that they would inherit a land flowing in milk and honey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YOUNG DOVID SLAYS GOLIATH

The Philistines (Pelishtim) gathered to do battle with King Saul and the people of Israel. Goliath emerged from among them and made an offer, "Send me one person to do battle with and if he wins we will be enslaved to Israel, and if I win the people of Israel will be enslaved to the Philistines.

Goliath was a warrior giant who frightened the entire Israeli army by thunderously teasing the Bnei Yisrael morning and night for forty days. He was trying to prevent them from reciting the Shema because he knew how spiritually powerful they were.

No one came forward, until a young shepherd, Dovid, stepped forward to challenge Goliath. He carefully chose 5 smooth rocks to symbolize that G-d would avenge the honor of the Torah, the name of G-d, and the three Patriarchs. With his slingshot Dovid charged Goliath and struck him in the forehead with a pebble launched by his slingshot. Miraculously the pebble penetrated Goliath's heavy armor and Goliath fell before Dovid. Dovid finished him off with a sword.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARBEH -THE PLAGUE OF LOCUSTS

G-d brought a course of ten plagues upon the Egyptians because Pharaoh would not release the Jews from hundreds of years of slavery. Each plague severely affected the Egyptians, but Pharaoh would recant on his promise to liberate the Jewish people as soon as the plague was revoked.

Arbeh - the plague of locusts- was the eighth plague and visited upon the Egyptians after the destructive force of Barad - hail, that pelted the population, livestock, and fields of vegetation with a shower of flames, hailstone, and lightning. Originally the Egyptians rejoiced when they saw the locusts, hoping to eat them because their foodstuffs were destroyed by Barad, but the vicious locusts attacked the Egyptians and their possessions after they devoured whatever vegetation remained from Barad. They ate every last leaf in Egypt.

G-d was heaping vengeance on Pharaoh for enslaving the Jews and forcing them to farm Egyptian crops. The massive numbers of locusts blackened the Egyptian terrain. Pharaoh rescinded and summoned Moshe and Aharon to remove the plague, but hardened his heart once the blight of locusts ceased.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AHARON'S STAFF SWALLOWS THE OTHER STAFFS:

G-d sent Moshe, who was then 80, and Aharon, who was then 83, to speak to Pharaoh and demonstrate His Authority. Pharaoh mocked G-d and refused to permit the Jews to leave Egypt. When he asked for a sign of G-d's authority, Aaron threw his staff down before Pharaoh and it converted into a slithering snake.

Pharaoh held court with the most powerful magicians and ridiculed Moshe and Aaron for a demonstration that he insisted was childish. He directed his powerful magicians to duplicate Aaron's feat. Aaron's snake then swallowed all the snakes that the magicians had produced, but Pharaoh remained unimpressed.

But he was horrified when Aaron's snake returned to its form as a staff and swallowed the other staffs. Pharaoh was convinced of G-d's supremacy because Aaron demonstrated a miracle not a magician's trick, yet he hardened his heart once again and would not free the people of Israel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHARAOH'S ARMY DROWNS IN THE SEA OF REEDS

After Pharaoh was forced to free the Israelites with the plague of the firstborn, he regretted his actions and convinced his army to pursue the Israelites into the desert claiming that their idols would protect them from G-d. They refused but agreed when he promised to share his royal wealth with them. He raced to the Sea of Reeds with over 600 chariots to battle with G-d.

The Bnei Yisrael were confronted with the arrows of the Egyptian army from the rear, and the Sea of Reeds thundered in their path ahead of them. G-d miraculously split the sea for the Israelites and all the waters of the world, so that all of mankind would be aware of the miracle that G-d had performed for His Chosen People. The sea had divided into sections to allow each tribe (shevet) to pass through separately.

Pharaoh's troops charged into the sea to battle, but the sea closed around them. G-d visited another ten plagues on the Egyptians as they drowned in the Sea of Reeds. The most evil of the Egyptians were tossed around the sea and suffered a slower, more agonizing death.

Not one Egyptian escaped punishment, except for Pharaoh so that he would bear witness to the sovereignty of G-d. The sea spewed forth the dead and dying, and the treasures of the Egyptians to prove the victory to the Israelites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YAAKOV WRESTLES WITH AN ANGEL

At the close of 20 years in his father-in-law, Lavan's, home Yaakov embarked on a journey to return to Israel with his wives Rochel, Leah, Bilha, and Zilpa and his eleven children. Yaakov was concerned about his first encounter with his twin brother Eisav, since he had fled with the blessings of the firstborn that his twin brother, Eisav, claimed were his birthright. Not convinced that his brother had forgiven him he fortified his encampment with prayer, extravagant gifts to appease Eisav, and preparations for battle and flight. He sent multiple caravans of expensive gifts of livestock, separately, to impress Eisav with his tribute and convince him to abandon his plans of revenge.

Compelled by his anxiety to protect his family, Yaakov crossed over the Yabok River with his family to further safeguard them.When he recrossed the river to retrieve some sundry vessels that he had left behind, he was attacked by the guardian angel of Eisav. The two wrestled until the break of dawn. When the guardian angel could not triumph overYaakov he struck the socket of his hip and dislocated it. Yaakov would not discharge the angel without a blessing.

The angel blessed him with the name "Yisrael"which implies the victory Yaakov achieved over humans and angels. Yaakov left with a significant limp. We, therefore, are prohibited from eatingthe "gid hanasheh" - the sciatic nerve and the flesh around it contained in the hind-quarters of the animal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BNEI YISRAEL CAMPED BY THE YARDEN

Yehoshua became the leader of the Bnei Yisrael after the death of Moshe. From their encampment at the Jordan River, G-d showed Yehoshua the boundaries of the land that He promised to deliver to them through battle.From his vantage point Yehoshua sent spies to Yericho (Jericho) to investigate the people of the land.

When they returned Yehoshua informed Bnei Yisroel that now they would follow the Ark, not the pillar of cloud that had led them for 40 years in the dessert with Moshe. He directed the Kohanim (priests) to carry the Ark to the banks of the Jordan that were overflowing. When the feet of the priests reached the bank of the Jordan, the waters flowing downstream ceased and piled up in columns creating a dry path for the BneiYisrael to cross over. To commemorate the miracle, Yehoshua erected a monument of stones as a memorial for future generations.